Bubble suffers setback
24 July, 2021, 10:15 am
Fiji’s hopeful aspect was significant and high rates of vaccination – Seselja
The escalating cases of COVID-19 in Fiji has set back hopes of opening up a travel bubble with Australia any time soon.
And Australian International Development and the Pacific Minister Zed Seselja said the “first priority is to see that progress with getting the numbers under control.”
He said this during a virtual press conference as part of the Forum Economic Ministers meeting.
He said it was difficult to see any progress at this stage considering the spike in COVID cases in Fiji.
“With Fiji in particular, the biggest setback was the most recent outbreak, which you’re all aware of and dealing with,” Mr Seselja said.
“And so, until that is under control and we see those case numbers come down significantly and we see the population significantly vaccinated, or at least the situation significantly under control, it’d be difficult to obviously see those progressing.
“But by the end of the year, I hope so, we can’t commit to it at this point.
Mr Selselja believed that Fiji’s hopeful aspect was the significant and high rates of vaccination which would start to provide protection to the community.
“I think we would look to take potentially baby steps like vacation paradise model before moving to a full bubble and then other arrangements beyond that.
“But what we could see, as Australia’s population gets vaccinated, I mean, we’re doing now around a million a week, and we anticipate that, that will grow considerably in these next couple of months.
“So, as a substantial portion of the Australian population is vaccinated, a substantial portion of the Fijian population is vaccinated. And as we see things relaxed internally, I think there will be the opportunity to see that.”